Sunday, June 3, 2012

Vayikra & HaChodesh

The Torah Portion of Vayikra:

"A man if he offers from you an offering to Hashem." (Vayikra 1:2) 

The Holy books write that there is a hint here, that if a man wants to bring himself close to the Divine service of Hashem, he needs to negate all of his identity, to submit himself to Hashem entirely, and to negate his "I", his ego. And that is the intention of saying "A man if he offers 'from you'"; that is to say, if he is prepared to sacrifice "from you", his identity, then he is worthy to be an offering to Hashem.

"A man if he offers from you an offering to Hashem, from the cattle" (Vayikra 1:2) 

The Holy Alshich wrote, that the main point of the service of bringing anoffering to Hashem is, that he should think in his heart, that according strict justice, it would be appropriate to have done to himself that which is done to the cattle, to burn his limbs and dash his blood on the altar, G-d forbid, because of the sins which he has committed. And it is only because of the great mercy and kindness of Hashem, that the animal has exchanged places with the man. And this is the intention of saying "A man if he offers from you", that is the man needs to offer himself, but the sacrifice to Hashem is from the cattle, since the animal is in place of him.

The Torah Portion of HaChodesh:

"This month will be to you the head of the months; it is the first for you of the months of the year". (Shemot 12:2)

The reason for this reading is to sanctify and declare the month of Nissan, because of the importance of this month, for so it is written in the Torah: "This month will be to you the head of the months; it is the first for you of the months of the year". (Shemot 12:2) It is the head of the months and of the festivals. (Practically speaking, this is not the actual sanctification of the month but rather just an addition of holiness.) Another reason for this reading: to announce to the people that Passover is coming soon, so that they should prepare themselves to come up to Jerusalem for the festival. The Mitzvah of coming up to Jerusalem for Passover is more
stringent than for the the other festivals, because of the "Korban Pesach" (Passover offering), which is a positive commandment that has the punishment of Korait (cutting off) if not fulfilled.

10 Crowns that were taken by Rosh Chodesh Nissan:

1) The first for the act of creation
2) The first for the princes; the princes began to bring sacrificial offerings
3) The first for the priests (the Cohanim); the priests began to do their service
4) The first for the service; the sacrifices of the community be offered
5) The first for the coming down of fire upon the sacrificial altar
6) The first for eating of the holy offerings, according to their statutory laws
7) The first for the indwelling of the Divine Presence
8) The first time for the Cohanim to bless the people of Israel
9) The first time when it became forbidden to offer sacrifices on Bamot, so that they would be offered only in the Mishkan
10) The first of the months of the year

"Vayihi biyom kalot HaMenorah." (Bamidbar 7:1-8:4)

On Rosh Chodesh Nissan, Moshe blessed Israel, May it be His will that the Divine Presence will dwell in the acts of your hands. It is customary from Rosh Chodesh Nissan until the 13th of the month to say each day the Torah verses about one of the princes from the dedication of the sacrificial altar. On the the first day, we begin with "Vayihi biyom kalot
Moshe"; on the 12th day we complete the Torah portion of Naso; and on the 13th day we say the Torah portion of Beha'alotcha until "Et HaMenorah". (A Cohen or a Levi should not say the Yehi Ratzon.) (from Mishna Berura, Siman 429)

The Torah Portion of "Vayikra" has 111 verses. There are 11 positive commandments and 5 negative commandments.

For the Torah Portion of  "HaChodesh", we read in the Torah Portion of "Bo", from "Vyomar Hashem... HaChodesh Hazeh Lachem" until "Tochlu Matzot".The Haftorah for "HaChodesh" is "Kol HaAm HaAretz" (Yechezkel 45)

L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor ben R' Chaim ztz"l

Shabbat Shalom!
In Nissan we were redeemed, and in Nissan we are to be redeemed in the future.

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